A Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officer has died in a friendly-fire incident during bodyguard training at the Kadhoo facility in Laamu Atoll.
32 year-old Corporal Ibrahim Shaukath was shot in the head and was taken to Laamu Gan Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:50am.
The MNDF stated that live ammunition was used in the training program, intended to train bodyguards for the upcoming SAARC Summit to be held in Addu.
MNDF Spokesperson Major Abdul Raheem told Minivan News that a joint investigation by police and the MNDF had been launched into the investigation of the death.
“It is too early to say how the incident occurred because the investigation is ongoing,” Abdul Raheem said.
Asked whether officers were required to wear helmets during training requiring the use of live ammunition, Abdul Raheem responded that “during some training, the officers will be equipped with different weapons and tools and I am not sure whether in this training the students were told to wear their helmets,’’ he replied.
A state funeral for Shaukath will be held on his home island of Alifushi in Raa Atoll.
“The family requested we conduct the funeral on Alifushi, so we decided to do so,’’ Abdul Raheem said, adding that senior officers of the MNDF would attend.
He said that the MNDF flag would be hoisted half-mast for three days in mourning of the incident.
“The whole MNDF force is with the family of Shaukath and our prayers are with him and his family,’’ Abdul Raheem said. “It was a very regrettable incident.”
Local media meanwhile reported that Shaukath died immediately when the bullet went straight his forehead.
Defense Minister Thalhath Ibrahim, Chief of Defense Force Major General Moosa Ali Jaleel and Vice Chief of Defense Force Faruhath Shaheeru and MNDF Nothern Area Commander Brigadier General Ahmed Mohamed will attend the funeral.
The opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) sent condolences to Shaukath’s family and called for an independent investigation to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future, alleging that existing safety measures during training exercises were “questionable”.